Latest Update from Governor on Power outages, Road Conditions

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Thursday, Gov. Andy Beshear said Kentucky Transportation Cabinet crews worked overnight and into this morning to maintain mobility along critical routes across the state following the third winter storm to strike the commonwealth in a week.

More than half of customers impacted by power outages in Eastern Kentucky have had power restored.

“State road crews and contractors have been focusing on high-priority routes, and in some areas they are tackling secondary routes as well,” Gov. Beshear said. “In Eastern and Northeastern Kentucky especially, the challenge of clearing roads continues to be made more difficult by downed trees and power lines. Electricity has been restored to approximately 85,000 customers after outages peaked at 154,000. That’s substantial progress, but much work remains to be done until power is restored to every Kentuckian who has been impacted.”

Today, KYTC Secretary Jim Gray extended an official order that temporarily suspends certain restrictions on commercial vehicles engaged in relief efforts, including utility trucks and carriers delivering fuel and other supplies to the stricken area. The extension runs to Feb. 28.

The Governor said the State Emergency Operations Center is currently activated at Level 3, supporting the power outage response and the winter storm recovery. As of Thursday morning, 51 counties and 31 cities have declared states of emergency.

Weather Update

  • Multiple rounds of wintry weather crossed Kentucky overnight and will continue in some areas of the state today, tapering off later tonight.
  • Kentucky has received snow, sleet, freezing rain and cold rain through this system.
  • Frostbite and hypothermia can occur if people are outdoors for extended periods of time, especially in single-digit temperatures.
  • Winter storm warnings and advisories are still current for Kentucky. To learn more, click here. Click here to view the National Weather Service forecast provided at 5 a.m. EST.

Power Outages

  • There are widespread outages across Eastern and Sortheastern Kentucky. As of noon EST, there were 70,249 Kentucky customers without power, with numerous counties reporting downed trees.
  • Power has been restored to approximately 85,000 customers after outages peaked at more than 154,000.
  • Power outages have also impacted traffic signals. Treat dark signals as four-way stops.
  • Clearing downed trees is an ongoing task in impacted areas. Division of Forestry crews are out in high-impact areas. Kentucky National Guard teams are on standby to assist the Forestry crews to remove cut debris. 
  • Tomorrow afternoon Kentucky State Police (KSP) will fly Kentucky Power employees to Eastern Kentucky to assist in power restoration efforts.
  • Kentuckians experiencing a downed power line or power outage should contact their local utility company. Never use a generator inside your home or garage, even if doors and windows are open. Only use generators outside, more than 20 feet away from your home, doors, and windows. Never use an outdoor grill, gas stovetop or gas oven to heat your home. Visit http://www.cdc.gov/co/guidelines.htm for more information.

“Utility companies are moving as quickly as possible to restore power to our hardest hit eastern and southeastern counties,” said Michael Dossett, director of the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management. “Team Kentucky is assisting with Division of Forestry saw teams, National Guard soldiers providing wellness checks and transportation of citizens to warming centers, our Public Service Commission and Division of Water monitoring power outages and plant operations, along with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s important role of clearing major roadways and statewide storm response. A heartfelt thank-you to all of our community volunteers, agencies and emergency services personnel engaged in this important recovery mission.”

Road Conditions

  • KYTC crews are treating and plowing statewide and report most highly traveled priority A routes are passable. Plows are making headway on secondary, lower-volume routes. In eastern and Northeastern Kentucky, the challenge of clearing roadways continues to be made even more difficult by countless downed trees and power lines.
  • All 16 KSP posts report for the third straight day that roads, particularly neighborhood and side roads, are snow-covered, slick and hazardous. At this time, KSP reports no interstate closures; however, portions of Interstate 75 around Richmond have one lane open.
  • While Ashland has no major road closures, several side roads are closed due to downed trees, and a significant number of Kentuckians remain without power.
  • Even if roads appear clear, drivers should still use caution. Freezing drizzle and black ice pose an invisible danger to drivers on the road. Drivers are reminded to slow down, buckle up and leave a large space cushion between other vehicles on the road. Kentuckians are urged to tune in to local media for information on weather, and visit snowky.ky.gov for snow and ice resources and goky.ky.gov to check road conditions.
  • A majority of KSP Driver Testing Branch locations are closed for the remainder of the week but are expected to reopen next week. Appointments will be automatically rescheduled for citizens who had written permit and skills tests scheduled for this week. Applicants do not need to reschedule online. 

“Crews still have their work cut out for them even after this last round of precipitation ends this evening,” said Secretary Gray. “Single-digit temperatures this weekend will keep ice and snow around for some time, but the break in precipitation will give crews a chance to maintain passable lanes plows have already cleared. We appreciate the patience from the public and ask all drivers to use caution if they have to travel.”

Wellness Support

  • More than 80 Kentucky National Guardsmen are currently assisting in Boyd, Carter, Crittenden, Elliott, Floyd, Jackson, Johnson, Laurel, Lawrence, Leslie, Magoffin, Menifee, Owsley, Rockcastle  and Rowan Counties.
  • Guardsmen are assisting with wellness checks, transporting those in need to warming stations and shelters, providing crews to transport medical staff and providing debris removal teams to assist the Kentucky Division of Forestry.
  • There are currently 23 warming centers open, with another 23 on standby. There are nine emergency shelters open, with one on standby.
  • KSP troopers are also responding to wellness checks and helping Kentuckians as needed. If you need help, please contact a KSP post directly. KSP is requesting Kentuckians only utilize 911 for emergencies. Phone numbers for local KSP posts can be found at kentuckystatepolice.org/post-locations.